Update on Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning!

The following article was published a few days ago on CTV.ca:

New ‘Anne of Green Gables’ coming to CTV

Updated Tue. Oct. 16 2007 10:27 AM ET


The perennially freckled and red-haired Anne Shirley will return to television in 2008, with a new three-hour movie set to debut on CTV.

Actor Hannah Endicott-Douglas is shown in a handout photo. (CTV)
“To say that we are excited about bringing the Anne of Green Gables franchise to CTV would be an understatement!” said Kevin Sullivan, president of Sullivan Entertainment.

“Ivan Fecan and I created the “Avonlea/Family Hour” franchise on CBC in the early 90s and together we made it into one of Canada’s most successful weekly television events.”

In addition to the film, CTV has acquired the entire “Anne” catalogue, including the original 1985 mini-series.

The movie is a prequel to the “Anne of Green Gables” series, entitled “Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning.”

Picked from over 1,000 hopefuls, Toronto native Hannah Endicott-Douglas will play the new Anne.

The search for the star included an open casting call on YouTube and a cross-Canada audition tour that lasted for three months. Sullivan, an award winning filmmaker, personally selected the winner.

Endicott-Douglas has also appeared in “The Good Witch” and “Samantha: An American Girl.”

Academy Award nominee Barbara Hershey will also appear in the film as Anne later in life, in her 50s. Rachel Blanchard also stars as Louise.

Sullivan has written a completely new screenplay for the three hour movie, which follows Anne’s life before arriving at Green Gables. Sullivan is also directing and executive producing the feature.

“Anne of Green Gables is an enduring and endearing worldwide franchise,” said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.

“We welcome Anne with great respect and look forward to the world premiere of ‘A New Beginning’ on CTV.”

CTV’s acquisition includes:

  • Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning (TV Movie, three hours)
  • Anne of Green Gables; Anne of Green Gables – The Sequel; Anne of Green Gables – The Continuing Story (Mini-Series; 13 hours)
  • Road to Avonlea (TV Series; 91 hours)
  • Road to Avonlea Christmas (TV Movie; two hours)
  • Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series (TV Series; 13 hours)
  • Anne, Journey to Green Gables (Animated Feature, two hours)
  • The Magic Flute Diaries (Feature, two hours)
  • Mozart Decoded – The Magic Flute Diaries Documentary (Documentary, 1 hour)
  • Anne Trilogy Documentary (Documentary, 1 hour)

“Anne of Green Gables” and “Road to Avonlea” have been broadcast in over 140 countries around the world and have won numerous awards including four Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Award, CableAce Awards and numerous Gemini’s.

“Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel” originally aired in 1987 and has remained the highest rated mini-series ever to air in Canada with an audience of 5.4 million.

Also, the following article appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:

Three-month search yields new Anne of Green Gables

Maria Kubacki, CanWest News Service

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Her red hair may come from a bottle but Hannah Endicott-Douglas is a natural for her new role as Anne Shirley.

The 12-year-old blonde actress from Toronto has been chosen to play one of Canada’s most beloved cultural icons in a prequel to the original Anne of Green Gables mini-series starring Megan Follows. It’s a series she is intimately familiar with, having played out scenes from it with her older sister, Vivien, since she was a toddler.

“I’m a very big Anne fan. I have been for a very long time,” said Hannah in a telephone interview from her home in Toronto on the eve of her first day of shooting.

It was Vivien who usually played Anne, while Hannah portrayed the supporting characters.

Now it’s Hannah’s turn to be Anne, and 16-year-old Vivien will play Violetta, a character at odds with Anne in the beginning.

Hannah has read L.M. Montgomery’s classic novel and says what she likes about Canada’s favourite fictional orphan is “her way to look on the bright side, her imagination and her fiery temper.”

The Grade 8 student, who dyed her hair for the role, was crowned the new Anne after a three-month search by Sullivan Entertainment, which included an open casting call on YouTube, a cross-Canada audition tour and nearly 1,000 audition submissions from Canada, the U.S., England and Australia.

“She was the one who had the shine,” said writer/producer/director Kevin Sullivan, the man behind the original series. “She’s spunky, she’s got a tender heart,” said Sullivan in a telephone interview.

But Hannah — whose previous television credits include The Good Witch and Samantha: An American Girl Holiday — also had a quality Sullivan saw in Follows, and in the young Sarah Polley (who starred in another Sullivan Entertainment series, Road to Avonlea). “This kid is a pro,” he said.

Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning is based on an original screenplay by Sullivan and focuses on Anne’s life before she came to Green Gables. The screenplay draws on elements in Montgomery’s novel but Sullivan admits he had to make a lot of it up. “It’s a three-hour movie.”

Hannah plays the young orphan, and Emmy and Golden-Globe winning actress Barbara Hershey (The Portrait of a Lady, Hannah and Her Sisters) portrays a 50-something Anne looking back on her life.

Rachel Blanchard (7th Heaven, Clueless) plays Louisa Thomas, a character mentioned in Montgomery’s novel; additional casting will be announced soon.

Production has begun and the movie will premiere on CTV in 2008 in time for the 100th anniversary of the publication of Montgomery’s novel.

Cover Illustrations of Forthcoming Titles from Penguin

Amazon.ca now includes cover illustrations of three titles forthcoming from Penguin in early 2008: the centennial edition of Anne of Green Gables, Budge Wilson’s authorized prequel, Before Green Gables, and Elizabeth Rollins Epperly’s book-length study, Imagining Anne: The Island Scrapbooks of L.M. Montgomery.

Updates for Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning

According to the website The Casting Workbook, Hannah Endicott-Douglas has been cast as Anne Shirley in Sullivan Entertainment’s Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning. Endicott-Douglas has appeared in Samantha: An American Girl Holiday (2004).

Also, the Ontario District Council offers a production summary for the telefilm, listing some of the key crew members for the production. [Update: This web page is no longer online.]

We will post more information about this film once it becomes available.

Anne and Gilbert Goes Green

This article from 31 July 2007 appeared on the CBC website:

Anne and Gilbert, the musical featuring fictional redhead Anne Shirley that started its Summerside run earlier this month, has gone green.

Producer Campbell Webster has purchased just over $300 in carbon credits to help offset fuel and other energy usage during staging of the theatre production, and ease the effects on the environment.

Campbell Webster, the producer of Anne and Gilbert, bought $300 worth of carbon credits. Campbell Webster, the producer of Anne and Gilbert, bought $300 worth of carbon credits.
(CBC News)

“There’s a certain elegance to it. It can be a simple way to offset the carbon fuels that you use,” Webster told CBC News.

Being staged at the Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre from July 15 to Sept. 19, Anne and Gilbert is a love story based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s popular Anne of Green Gables book series.

Carbon credits are vouchers used to sponsor clean-energy research and projects, in an effort to counterbalance carbon emissions produced by activities such as driving or air travel.

Webster purchased his credits from Planetair, a non-profit Montreal company dedicated to reducing greenhouse gases.

Rebecca Parent, who plays Anne in this year’s production, has a two-hour round-trip drive to the Summerside theatre each day, and said the carbon credits will help the environmental cause.

“We can’t completely cut out our carbon emissions,” Parent said. “Knowing that what we are putting out into the atmosphere is being offset, obviously, by this project makes you feel better about yourself.”

Webster said the production will continue to seek ways to offset its carbon footprint, adding he hopes to purchase more credits next year to help compensate for the fossil fuels burned by the stage lighting.

L.M. Montgomery Biography by Jane Urquhart

Penguin Canada is launching a new series called Extraordinary Canadians, “a rediscovery of the great figures of Canada’s past by its most brilliant contemporary writers,” with John Ralston Saul as General Editor. Eighteen volumes are planned for publication between 2008 and 2010, along a companion TV documentary series and a website that is not yet online. The first three books in the series—Emily Carr by Lewis DeSoto, Lord Beaverbrook by David Adams Richards, and Nellie McClung by Charlotte Gray—will be published in March 2008.

In September 2009, they will publish L.M. Montgomery by Jane Urquhart. We will post further updates about this book once it becomes available.

2008 Titles Available for Pre-order

Amazon.ca and Chapters.Indigo.ca are taking pre-orders for Montgomery studies that will appear in 2008!

Elizabeth Epperly’s Imagining Anne (scheduled for release in hardcover on 29 January 2008): Amazon.ca: 37% off!; Chapters/Indigo: 34% off!

Penguin Canada’s centennial anniversary edition of Anne of Green Gables (scheduled for release in hardcover on 29 January 2008) Amazon.ca: 37% off!; Chapters/Indigo.ca: 34% off!

Budge Wilson’s prequel Before Green Gables (scheduled for release in hardcover on 29 January 2008): Amazon.ca: 37% off!; Chapters/Indigo: 34% off!

Irene Gammel’s Looking for Anne: The Life and Times of Anne of Green Gables (scheduled for release in hardcover on 1 May 2008): Amazon.ca: 37% off!; Chapters/Indigo: 34% off!

Gammel’s book will also be published in the United States by St. Martin’s Press in summer 2008. Cover art for all these books will be posted here when it becomes available.

Maclean’s Article on Anne Prequels

The 6 August 2007 issue of Maclean’s includes Katie Engelhart’s article titled “Will the real Anne please stand up? In celebration of the 100th anniversary of ‘Anne of Green Gables’: duelling prequels.”

Also, Bertrand Russell had a few choice things to say about the Penguin prequel in his “Burn the Prequel” (14 Dec. 2006) entry on his blog.

Thanks to Beth C. for alerting us to the Maclean’s article.

Elaine Campbell, Co-creator of Anne of Green Gables Musical, Dies

From CBC website:

Elaine Campbell, a co-creator of the longest running musical in Canadian history, Anne of Green Gables, died Friday in Charlottetown.

Campbell was one of the lyricists for the musical and part of the team—consisting of her husband, Norman Campbell, Don Harron, Mavor Moore and Alan Lund—that brought the internationally famous L.M. Montgomery book to Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre of the Arts in the 1960s. The show is now in its 43rd year.

Harron, the only surviving member of the creative team, said Elaine Campbell shaped the character of Anne.

“She brought a sensitivity. Norman and I were showoffs and Elaine was not. And she brought a real sense of the inner Anne,” he said. “She doesn’t get enough credit for what she did.”

Campbell, who was born in northern Ontario in 1925, spent her summers in Prince Edward Island and her winters in Toronto.

She wrote lyrics for three other musicals and contributed to specials for CBC Television, Rideau Hall and two Royal galas. She also established an endowment fund to the Confederation Centre in her husband’s name.

Her connection with Prince Edward Island, and the festival, was maintained for over 40 years.

“She’s never missed an opening that I know of in terms of the opening of the summer festival,” said Wayne Hambly, chair of the board of the Confederation Centre.

“Every year she comes down from Toronto to stay at their summer home. She brings to the centre a great level of excitement and a great level of pride in the accomplishments of the cast and crew.”

Campbell is best-known as a writer for the theatre and patron of the arts.

However, she also served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, spent time on the board of the National Ballet of Canada and was a Jane Austin scholar.

She was an avid traveller. Her final trip, in the last year of her life, was to Libya.

Campbell leaves five children and one grandchild. There will be a private celebration of her life held on P.E.I. A public event will take place later in Toronto.

Update on Martha MacIsaac

There is a one-page article about Martha MacIsaac in August’s issue of Famous (a magazine offered free at giant movie theatres across Canada). MacIsaac played the leading role in Emily of New Moon (1998-1999, 2002-2003) and now appears in the movie Superbad, which opens later this month. Thanks to Elizabeth MacLeod for bringing the article to our attention.